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mountaintree16

PC TOOL & Spyware Doctor

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I used Spyware Doctor a few months ago by PC Tools.

Unfortunately I used the registry cleaner without realizing I shouldn't and that it is advised to NOT use it. I hope I haven't damaged my computer by doing that.

anyway, does anyone know anything about PC Tools and/or Spyware Doctor?

I thought that they seemed like a real company, and their customer support is helpful too, even though it was hard to get ahold of someone, but I finally found an email.

I am concerned because when browsing through the forums and on the HJT log forum especially, I see people talking about Spyware Doctor being an infection and causing trouble, and thats the program I used a few months ago, and now I am a little scared.

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Guest victimized

It is not a virus.

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They are a real company but I'm not a big fan of their software, especially Spyware Doctor. It's too much of a resource hog and its detection rates aren't that great and I've seen too many serious infections easily get past it (I used to be a PC tech at a retail chain that had a deal with PCTools to sell their software so I used it a lot and we installed it on a lot of PC's). It proved itself to be pretty ineffective against removing really nasty threats and other tools had to be used. All that being said, PCTools are a legitimate company and Spyware Doctor is a legitimate program, I simply classify them along with Webroot (who makes SpySweeper) with Norton and McAfee, they are the biggest vendors in the security business and they've gotten so big that they care more now about profits than quality and protection of their customers' machines. They all too often miss detecting the newest threats and their products slow down the computers they are installed on dramatically and they tend to cause problems when running them alongside other security softwares. These companies all used to be the best money could buy, but they got so popular because of that that they focused more on marketing than quality of their product, resting on their laurels and paying companies like Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Gateway and others to sell their products to customers who buy their computers.

Sorry for the long-winded reply, I just happen to have a bit of a chip on my shoulders when it comes to certain security companies considering I had to promote their software and install it for people only to have those same "secure" machines come back infected only to have to use tools like Malwarebytes, SUPERAntiSpyware, SpyBot Search & Destroy, Kaspersky etc to disinfect them because the "paid security guards" couldn't do the job they were paid to do.

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Victimized:

That's good to know :P

It did slow down my computer horribly.

and then with Desktop Maestro, I removed registry files that I shouldn't' have. I had no idea what I was doing and realized afterward that I shouldn't have done that. The program gives you the option to make a button to undo it, which I only did after the first removal. I hope it undid everything anyway. I can't believe I did that. Do you know anything about registry files and the registry in general? I don't and I am almost clueless and I asked the customer support person from PC tools the question I want to ask you and she gave me the best answer she could but I am not sure if its correct or not.

My main concern was that I might have possibly removed something that was part of windows update and/or my antivirus system. Do you know if its possible for that to happen?

Also, after I removed stuff, windows installer kept popping up, mostly for programs I either never used or didn't know much about. I ended up uninstalling them and then restarted the computer, only to have it happen two more times. I then ended up downloading the windows installer clean up utility. eak.

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Exile 360:

Thank you SO much for your response. It is incredibly helpful. The program certainly did slow down my computer, and it didn't' seem to really find anything (which hopefully meant I didn't have anything, but I downloaded it because of my antimalwarescanner . com incident, which you may or may not have read about)

I just feel kind of cheated and mislead. It was touted as such an AMAZING product on their website and on download.com the reviews were pretty good. Of course, after I bought it, I read not so good reviews on Amazon, such as slowing down the system, which it DEFINITELY did to me.

I won't be using anymore PC Tools products. I just wish I hadn't bought any to begin with :P Now they have my name and cr card and what have you. Oh well.

I wonder if I should even keep Desktop Maestro. I hardly use it. I've only used it really to clear out computer traces, which I don't know if it even fully does.

Please see my last response to victimized. Maybe you can help me with my questions on that too, especially since you know a lot about the company and the program? :D

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Yes, it's sad you bought Maestro considering Ccleaner and ATF Cleaner are both free and remove such traces :P . As long as your computer is running ok and all of the programs and functions you use are still working properly then the registry cleaner most likely did no damage. Incidents of damage caused by registry cleaners are fairly rare, but when things do go wrong with them it can be far more trouble than it's worth repairing it. Little performance (if any) is gained from "cleaning" the registry. As long as Windows Update still works and your AV still works you're fine, as far as the Windows Installer Cleanup utility goes, it's an excellent tool and I highly recommend it in such situations. What caused the problem was most likely when certain keys related to those softwares were removed, breaking those programs, and when they got broken they tried to either reinstall or uninstall, hence the need for the "undo" and the use of the Windows Installer Cleanup utility. As far as your CC number and other info, don't worry about it, just make sure if you purchased anything that requires a yearly subscription that they don't try to auto-charge your card to renew the license, and if they do, contact their customer support and have them remove the charge and cancel your account and they won't charge you again (I had to do this with McAfee a while back and they took care of it quickly without too much hassle).

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Exile, I thank you so much!! I am so grateful to you!! Before I came to this forum I had been searching for answers and I could hardly find information. I have a computer techie friend I met online that works with computers for a living and he was helpful about the registry too, but you have been able to explain it in more detail and I understand it better.

ATF Cleaner does the exact same thing as the Privacy portion of Desktop Maestro? It cleans off internet traces and computer traces the same way that the privacy portion of Desktop Maestro claims it does? Also, I was dissapointed to find out that Desktop Maestro does nothing to help with clearing out Firefox :/

My computer does seem to be running okay, although a bit slow since February when my antimalware scanner incident happened and then using Spyware Doctor, which REALLY slowed the computer down. I have gotten rid of it and no longer use it, but I am wondering if any leftovers of it might be responsible for the slowness.

Thanks again, you are awesome :P

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Exile, I thank you so much!! I am so grateful to you!!

Thanks again, you are awesome :P

He was a little wet behind the ears when I first met him but he's a pretty nice guy. Very helpful and willing to lend a hand and explain things.

He has also fined tuned his information by solid research which shows in his current posts.

Agreed - Exile is an awesome dude. :D

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aww lol :)

I agree, he is very helpeful! And you are too!

And yes, his research on his information definitely shows in his current posts.

:P

I am so glad that I found out about Malwarebytes and then found this forum. The staff here and the users are great!! I am so grateful to you guys!!!

As a bonus, I am slowly, but hopefully surely, becoming more computer smart.

Now, just a little question for you, since I wasn't able to find the answer on the main Malwarebytes page. When you purchase the full program that runs in the background, how is it on system resources? My computer is already running a little slowly. A few other programs come up when we boot, but we close out of them.

He was a little wet behind the ears when I first met him but he's a pretty nice guy. Very helpful and willing to lend a hand and explain things.

He has also fined tuned his information by solid research which shows in his current posts.

Agreed - Exile is an awesome dude. :D

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I'd try Avira over AVG myself.

See if any of this helps to improve performance.

Computer and browser slowness are not always malware related

Poor performance and other problems can be the result of disk fragmentation, disk errors, corrupt system files, too many startup programs, unnecessary services running, not enough RAM, dirty hardware, etc. As your system gets older it becomes filled with more files/programs and has a natural tendency to slow down so cleaning and regular maintenance is essential.

Listed below are a few things you can do to improve speed and system performance. Many of the these suggestions will apply if you're using Windows Vista but may be done a bit differently. Near the bottom of this thread there is a section specifically devoted to Vista Users.

For browser problems, see:

If your having connectivity issues or errors such as Page cannot be displayed see

If you're using Vista or Internet Explorer 7, see

If you have a lot of toolbars and add-ons attached to Internet Explorer, you could try improving performance by disabling those which are unecessary. See:

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Thanks for all the praise guys :) . Now that my ego has been stroked I'll answer a few more questions for you :P .

When you purchase the full program that runs in the background, how is it on system resources?

It's extremely light on system resources and runs very quietly alongside other security software. As an additional note, you might have a look at StartupLite. It's made by Malwarebytes' and will easily disable many unnecessary startup items thus speeding up your computer a bit (and sometimes a lot depending on how much is there :D ).

Do you think that uninstalling it would be a good idea?

I'd uninstall it as it runs in the background (further slowing things down) and can easily be replaced by lighter, free tools that do clean the usage tracks from FireFox as well as IE (like Ccleaner and ATF Cleaner).

As far as your antimalwarescanner incident, I'm currently in a training program at malwareremoval.com and part of my agreement with them is that I'm not allowed to offer any advice on infection removal until my training is complete (this is to avoid a novice trainee giving bad advice and potentially hurting the future reputation of the student when they do graduate as well as protecting the reputation of the malware removal school he or she is enrolled in). However, if you post about it in the general Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware forum or send a personal message about it to the helper who assisted you with removing the infection (if you used our HijackThis\Malware Removal area of the forum) you'll get the answer you seek I'm sure :) .

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AdvancedSetup:

Do you use Avira then?

I've already paid for AVG though. I'd hate to waste it, but thats not a big deal compared to computer safety. Does Avira also offer a full internet security suite? That's what I have from AVG right now.

Thank you SO much for all of those links and suggestions and tools. I will do them when I am able to.

I skimmed over everything quickly, and the information on the Defrag part completely surprised me. I had no idea that you should shut down other applications while defragging. What does it mean when it says to close out programs so that no programs attempt to write the drive? Is that something malicious or just something in Windows?

Thanks again :P

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Exile:

You're welcome!!!

Thanks!! Is StarupLite easy to use and everything?

Does Desktop Maestro (and I also have Registry Mechanic running in the background too since it came with Spyware Doctor) run in the background even if you close it down from the taskbar?

I hate wasting money but I haven't used the program in at least a month now. So ATF cleaner (and CC, but I haven't tried it yet) thoroughly cleans usage tracks on Firefox and IE? The other thing I liked about Desktop Maestro is that it said it also cleans up files leftover on the computer, such as when you have a Word document and save it, and then delete it later on, its not really completely gone. Desktop Maestro claims to clean those files up too. Maybe I can just install it for when I want to clean up tracks, but I would imagine that installing, uninstalling, and then re-installing programs like that is hard on the computer and probably creates more problems?

Congrats on being in the training program!! Thanks for being honest and telling me that and I understand and respect that. I think you are going to do GREAT and be a wonderful graduate when the time comes!

Okay, thanks! I was talking with Miekiemoes about it earlier too when I posted a Malwarebytes log.

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Programs that would write to the drive would be like internet browsers that cache data to the computer, virus scanners creating logs and other types of software that generate logs and files constantly. Avira does offer a full internet security suite but it isn't free unfortunately, only the anti-virus is. You can find more info about Avira's IS version (with firewall and all) here and their free version here.

Yes, StartupLite is extremely easy to use :P .

Yes, they most likely do leave other background processes running (as do most of PCTool's products). So I'd get rid of it if you don't need it and if you haven't had it too long you could contact them and ask for a refund if you don't plan to use it.

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Exile:

Thanks again :D

So do close out things while running the defrag, just hit exit out on the programs in the taskbar that are running?

Cost isn't an issue with security for me. I would prefer to pay to get something good then have a free version that doesnt' have everything that I need. The free Antivirus version sounds excellent though. I've heard good things about Avira and Avast, but Avira sounds like the better of the two. Thanks for the links to Avira :)

Yay! good to hear that StartupLite is easy to use :)

Hmm okay. I don't really need it. I just wanted to clear off computer usage tracks AND internet tracks. Does ATF do both or just internet? I still don't fully understand ATF cleaner but I know its good :)

I've had it longer than you can have it to get a refund, unfortuantely. At least it was only $20. Maybe this will help my system speed up :) I wonder if there are any Spyware Doctor traces lingering around causing problems. When I had that whole Windows installer incident, or maybe it was when I did a System Restore in an effort to get back firefox book marks I had lost (I unstalled it, didn't save bookmarks) after finding some things in the options or tools tab that I thought looked suspicious (they were in the pop up blocker area or the blocked sites area, I can't remember which) but probably were fine. so anyway, after I did the system restore, this thing popped up about pctstray.exe and I was like what is that! I did some google searching after undoing the restore (firefox wouldn't work at all!) and someone said it was a virus but then I found it was a leftover exe from PC Tools and it was only found in prefetch anyway, which ATF cleaned out.

gah, computers :P

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So do close out things while running the defrag, just hit exit out on the programs in the taskbar that are running?

Yes, just close any browser windows and exit any programs running in your task bar (disabling your internet connection temporarily is also a good idea).

Does ATF do both or just internet?

ATF and Ccleaner do both PC usage tracks as well as internet usage tracks.

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Okay thanks!

I would definitely disable the internet! I actually keep it disabled whenever he or I are not using the computer. Just another precaution :D Its a cable thing. It has some plugs and cords in the back. To turn it off I just flip the switch, and that makes the computer tell me that a net work cable is unplugged. I assume that that is sufficient.

Okay, good to know! And do you think that they are just as good as or maybe better than Maestro? If I am not too tired when I get home, I'll uninstall Maestro too, otherwise I will do it another day. It asks you to restart after, which I think is weird :/

Thanks again :P

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AdvancedSetup:

Do you use Avira then?

Off and on for testing. I use different products from time to time to test our program.

I do like the 1 click ability to easily turn off active scanning so that I can copy/move a file that is infected without Avira wanting to remove it.

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Typical canned message for CCleaner. Though with add-ons that Exile can help you with even further it can clean much more.

    Download and install CCleaner
  • CCleaner
  • Double-click on the downloaded file "ccsetup219.exe" and install the application.
  • Keep the default installation folder "C:\Program Files\CCleaner"
  • Uncheck "Add CCleaner Yahoo! Toolbar and use CCleaner from your browser"
  • Click finish when done and close ALL PROGRAMS
  • Start the CCleaner program.
  • Click on Registry and Uncheck Registry Integrity so that it does not run (basically the very top, uncheck it)
  • Click on Options - Advanced and Uncheck "Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 48 hours"
  • Click back to Cleaner and under SYSTEM uncheck the Memory Dumps and Windows Log Files
  • Click on Run Cleaner button on the bottom right side of the program.
  • Click OK to any prompts

Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit

http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

* Operating Systems: Runs on Windows Vista, 2003, XP, 2000, NT 4, Me, 98, and 95.

* Browsers: Requires IE 3 or Netscape 3, and higher versions. Also runs on Opera, Mozilla, and Firefox.

* File size: 1773 KB.

* License: The license associated with this product allows for free personal use only. Use on multiple PCs in a corporate, educational, military or government installation is prohibited. See the license agreement for details. : Direct download - PC Audit (Version 7.2x)

Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI)

    Feature Overview
  • Detects insecure versions of common/popular programs installed on your PC

  • Verifies that all Microsoft patches are applied

  • Assists you in updating, patching, and protecting your PC

  • Activates additional security features in Sun Java

  • Runs through your browser. No installation or download is required

    Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI)

A more thorough scan can be accomplished by using the download version
Personal Software Inspector

    System Requirements

    The current list of requirements that must be met for the Secunia PSI to function correctly are the following.

    Supported Operating Systems (32 bit):
  • Microsoft Windows XP - Service Pack 2 or later

  • Microsoft Windows 2003

  • Microsoft Windows Vista

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 - Service Pack 4

  • US and European languages only

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Guest victimized

The registry is a important part of windows. It is a place like the my computer, except it contains values, keys, sub-keys, and data. The registry is very vulnerable, so you wouldn't want to mess with it. When using a registry cleaner you have to be careful with what you are deleting, because accidently you may delete some needed files for your system or programs. There isn't really a high chance of having a registry cleaner mess up programs or your system, so just be cautious with what you do with it. In the registry, you could modify, add, or delete data. You might find it hard to understand when looking at all the data in it.

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Thank you AdvancedSetup!

Was this message to me? Just checking.

"Typical canned message for CCleaner. Though with add-ons that Exile can help you with even further it can clean much more." What do you mean by that? I am just a little confused.

Should I download and install all of these things and do exactly what it says there?

Could you also tell me about how long they take? I'm just asking because I am not at my home computer right now and I won't be able to do anything until tonight. I get home late usually so I only have a few hours at night to work with before going to bed :P

I am also working on doing a HJT log with Miekemoes - should I do that with her first and then do these things after?

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Thank you Victimized!

This is for Victimized and Exile!

Last night I went to uninstall Registry Cleaner, but I figured that I should check to see if there were any restore points before doing so, because if I uninstalled it, I would never be able to do these restore points. There were about 6-10 entries. I took a screen shot. I was going to post a screen shot that I took and see if anyone could tell me whether or not I should restore them before uninstalling the program. I have already restored all that was available on the Desktop Maestro program. I would post it now but I am not at my computer. I will never mess with the registry again unless I know what I am doing!

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If everything is running OK then I wouldn't worry too much about those registry restore points, especially considering that you've already made a lot of system changes since then (ie installing and uninstalling programs). When you use Ccleaner just ignore the Registry button and use the regular file cleaning part. Here's my "canned instructions" for Ccleaner:

Download CCleaner from here to clean temp files from your computer.

  • Double click on the file to start the installation of the program.
  • Select your language and click OK, then next.
  • Read the license agreement and click I Agree.
  • Click next to use the default install location. Click Install then finish to complete installation.
  • Double click the CCleaner shortcut on the desktop to start the program.
  • On the "Windows" tab, under "Internet Explorer," uncheck "Cookies" if you do not want them deleted. (If deleted, you will likely need to reenter your passwords at all sites where a cookie is used to recognize you when you visit).
  • If you use either the Firefox or Mozilla browsers, the box to uncheck for "Cookies" is on the Applications tab, under Firefox/Mozilla.
  • Click on the "Options" icon at the left side of the window, then click on "Advanced."
    deselect "Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 48 hours."
  • Click on the "Cleaner" icon on the left side of the window, then click Run Cleaner to run the program.
  • Caution: It is not recommended that you use the "Registry" feature unless you are very familiar with the registry as it has been known to find legitimate items.
  • After CCleaner has completed its process, click Exit.

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Guest victimized

I would only do restore points in registry if i kept on getting errors in programs and in other system processes and stuff. Meaning that you're already good to go unless you experience problems.

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Exile:

Thanks :P

May I show you the screenshot anyway of what it has in the restore area just in case or is that probably unnecessary?

AdvancedSetup also gave me some instructions on how to use CCleaner. I printed out his instructions and was planning on running it tonight or as soon as possible. (I am also going to work on my Java tonight, finish up Norton uninstallation, and hopefully post a HJT log to Miekemoes in the thread we have going)

I wish I had some more time to work on my computer. Alas, I mostly have at night when I get home, about three hours max before I need to go to bed.

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